Nov. 8-14 marks National Radiologic Technology Week, which is recognized annually to acknowledge the vital work of RTs across the nation. According to the American Society of Radiologic Technology (ASRT), the week-long celebration “calls attention to the important role medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals play in patient care and health care safety.”
The celebration takes place each year during the week that includes Nov. 8 to commemorate the discovery of the X-ray by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen on Nov. 8, 1895.
Radiologic technologists perform diagnostic imaging examinations, such as X-rays, on patients. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, RTs make a median wage of $26.88 per hour, and employment in the field is projected to grow 21 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations.
“As the population grows older, there will be an increase in medical conditions, such as breaks and fractures caused by osteoporosis, which can require imaging to diagnose them,” the site explains.
Trocaire’s Radiologic Technology program is paying tribute to the week this year by hosting a pizza party for all of its 75 students. The program’s Rad Tech Club held a Halloween bake sale on campus several weeks ago, and those proceeds helped fund the party.
The students spend Tuesdays and Thursdays at various clinical sites such as hospitals and imaging centers throughout Western New York, and those places show their appreciation for RTs this week by hosting special lunches and speakers or providing coffee and donuts.
“I don’t know one single site of ours that isn’t doing something,” said Radiologic Technology Director Nancy Augustyn.
RT Program details
Trocaire’s RT program is more than 40 years old and one of only two of its kind in Western New York. It is highly competitive, with roughly 40 first-year students accepted out of a qualified applicant pool of 100-150.
“If you were to go into any number of area facilities, you’d probably be able to find at least one Trocaire graduate,” she said. “Some imaging centers are staffed by Trocaire graduates exclusively.”
A key component of that skilled reputation is the roughly 1,200 clinical hours every RT students completes during their time at Trocaire. The program started with just three clinical sites in its infancy and now is affiliated with more than 30.
“Our competitor’s students don’t go out to clinical until the second semester of the program—our students go out the second month,” Augustyn said. “The first week of October, our students are out at clinical sites and they are taking X-rays on patients.”
Augustyn also mentioned a way RT students or anyone interested in the profession could get an in-depth look at its past: a visit to the SUNY University at Buffalo Museum of Radiology and Medical Physics.
Located at UB’s South Campus, the museum contains a collection of items relating to the history of radiology, some dating back to 1896—just one year after the X-ray was discovered. Some of them were donated by Trocaire College’s RT department.
“A number are large like a portable WWII-era military X-ray field unit and an upright stereoscopic X-ray film viewer (circa 1930), and many are smaller like gas-filled x-ray tubes and hand-held fluoroscopes from the early 1900s,” the museum’s website explains. “Also included is a library containing some of the seminal literature of the field.”
“It’s got some really neat things in it related to the history of this profession,” Augustyn added.
For more information on the Radiologic Technology Program at Trocaire College, click here.